Covered in detail or mentioned in this post:
Non-Immigration OA Visa, 90 day reporting and re-entry permit.
Important Update 18 March 2017:
I have just been to the Australian Embassy in Bangkok to get my annual stat declaration confirmation of income. It is the first time that they have asked to sight verification documents of the income I had stated I was receiving. Previously no verification was necessary. Luckily I had printed out a statement from my Australian superannuation fund and had my bank book available as well. They didn’t do an in depth review but be warned that you should have back-up documents available just in case.
I also had to provide income verification documents to Immigration in Udon Thani as well as the Embassy stat dec, which was also a first. Be prepared.
Update 18 November 2015:
A reader of the blog has just completed a Laos border run to extend his permission to stay in Thailand by 12 months based on an OA Retirement Visa. You can find his comprehensive description of the process HERE.
Update: 6 September 2015 – I have published a useful addition to this topic which takes all the comments in this post and my and reader’s replies plus additional information provided, edits them to remove non-relevant wording and sets them out in a far more readable format. Essential reading for people looking for O-A Retirement information. You can find the post HERE.
Do you like the typical retirement image above? I couldn’t resist. How many of us look this good after a lifetime of work and have teeth like that! For many of us blokes in Thailand the partner is more likely to be a glorious mocha colour!
The information for the first section of this post was originally published in my “12 Months in Thailand” review HERE and is Australian centric although I think applies elsewhere too.
Please make sure you check this information as there have been some changes made to visas as the new post-coup government tightens up on farang staying in Thailand. More aimed at the tourist visa but you never know.
The best visa you can get for a long term stay here is called an Non-Immigration OA or retirement visa. There is an O visa, which doesn’t have the re-entry permit attached, however if you add the multiple re-entries option it is then called an OA visa and is good for 12 months. The only stipulation being that you report to the local Immigration Office every 90 days (or you can have a go at doing it online – read my post HERE. It works for some not others) and advise them of your address – see next topic below.
Many people are unable to obtain the visa because it does require you to be over 50 years old and to prove an income of at least 65,000 THB a month, or have 800,000 THB in a Thai bank.
It is best to obtain the visa in Australia rather than apply in Thailand before your tourist visa expires, even though you will require a medical certificate from your doctor and a police check. I also found that the requirement to have the equivalent of 800,000 THB in a Thai bank for at least three months, if applying in Thailand, wasn’t required in Australia. A bank statement confirming that I had the money in an Australian bank without a defined period of deposit was sufficient.
The big plus for getting an OA Visa in Australia is that if you leave Thailand during your initial 12 months and then return before its expiry Immigration will stamp your passport at the airport for another 12 months from the date of arrival. That is you don’t need to go through the whole process of proving income/deposit in Thai bank to renew. You automatically get another 12 months.
As I returned to Thailand after my Australian trip on 26 March, and my visa was due to expire in May, I was automatically extended to 25 March 2015 without any further paperwork. This is what it looks like – that little stamp on the new departure card saves a whole heap of work and money:
It is always hard to believe when bureaucracy works in your favour so I checked at Immigration in Chiang Mai soon after I got back and they confirmed this situation. I have since had a 90 day report without any problems so it is as I have told you.
UPDATE as at 15 December 2014
A follower of the blog wrote to me recently with some answers he got to visa questions and I thought they were worth sharing. Thanks Jay and Darel at Pattaya Expats Club for the answers in bold.
“I’m hoping you can clarify for me, when is the correct date to apply for a retirement visa extension?
My O-A Visa obtained in NZ is for multiple entry and expires 17th August 2015.
On arrival, my passport was stamped with permission to stay 9th
September 2015, which is beyond the original visa date. Correct – the Visa and the permission to stay stamp are two different things – the Visa allows you entry and once the Visa expires, it is no longer valid for entry.
In theory, if I were to travel overseas and return in July 2015, I would get a permission to stay (arrival) stamp until July 2016 (1 year) Correct – since the visa is a multiple entry O-A visa, you receive a one year permission to stay each time you re-enter Thailand BEFORE the expiration of the Visa.
This being the case, is a retirement renewal or extension required before the original visa expires in 2015, NO or before the permission to stay (entry stamp) expires in 2016? YES
I am aware that when I travel after 17th August 2015, I will need a re-entry permit before I leave, Correct – once the O-A Visa expires it no longer allows another entry – so to keep your permission to stay “alive” you need a re-entry permit if you leave Thailand after the Visa Expiration date that’s all I’m clear on.”
90 Day Reporting
Update 23 June 2015
The 90 day reporting can now be done online although I haven’t tried it. The link is HERE. Scroll through the conditions and then click on ACCEPT at the end. You will then be taken to the online form.
Update 6 Sept 2015: The Immigration office has moved. See information at the end of this post HERE.
My original post:
A requirement of your OA visa is that you report your address every 90 days to Thai Immigration. In Chiang Mai they are located in a chaotic little building next to the airport .
The office is woefully inadequate for the huge number of farang of all nationalities that queue here every day. I read once that Immigration is caught up in some sort of political dispute and no additional resources have been made available. Maybe true.
What is definitely true is that the Thai Immigration staff do a stirling job displaying complete professionalism and patience way beyond anything I could do in the same circumstances.
HINT: If you are driving the carpark at Immigration is always full. You can park across the road at the petrol station. It will cost you 20 THB for as long as it takes.
Your visa is NON-IMM, Entered Thailand…..By is your flight number, the Arrival Card No is actually your Departure card No! I searched through all my documents the first time I had to do one of these before finding online that they are looking for the departure card number. You don’t have an arrival card.
The other slightly confusing thing is the definitions for the address. Your Lane/Road is a Soi number, if you have one. Tambol is like a suburb, Amphur the name for the collection of suburbs and Province like a state. So my address here is 379/9, Soi 3, Nongjom, San Sai, Chiang Mai. This is equivalent to my old Australian address of 9 Lane/road = Balala Place, Tambol = Isabella Plains, Amphur = Tuggeranong, Province = ACT. or say 32 Plateau Parade, Blaxland, NSW.
You will sometime come across forms that abbreviate the names, which also completely confused me early on. Instead of the above they might just have T, A and P for Tambol, Amphur and Province.
For those Trivial Pursuit questions Thailand has 7055 Tambols, 878 Amphoe + 50 in Bangkok called Khet and 76 Provinces.
Along with your TM47 form, and you can pick up copies at Immigration if you don’t have access to a printer, you will need:
- Photocopy of front face page in your passport;
- Photocopy current Visa or departure card if you are on an extension to an OA and the original visa has been superseded;
- Photocopy last entry stamp from immigration;
- Photocopy last 90 report card ; and
- Photocopy of your departure card if you haven’t already.
- I also include a copy of the front page of my house lease confirming my address.
They have photocopy facilities at Immigration for a minimal fee. There is no charge for a 90 report. Get the documents correct and the process usually takes very little time. Maybe I have just been lucky with timing.
Warning – if you are in the renewal period of your OA visa then you need to get a single or multiple re-entry permit if you leave the country during the extended period and intend to return. Your original OA Visa was for multiple re-entries, your extension is not.
To get a re-entry stamp complete a TM8 form HERE, attach a passport sized photo and:
- Photocopy of front face page in your passport; and
- Photocopy of your departure card with the latest re-entry stamp.
A 1,000 THB fee applies for a single re-entry or 3,800 for multiple.
In Chiang Mai this simple stamp took over 1 1/2 hours to obtain so take a book.
Step 1 – Go to the information counter underneath the TV and get a number.
Step 2 – Sleep or read a book. The digital display automatic number system – in red above – allows for three streams of work being processed by Immigration so jumps around. The re-entry permit counter is on the far left – counters 1 & 2.
Step 3 – Once your number is displayed go to the counter, hand over your passport + forms + 1,000/3,800 THB. Go and sit down. Sleep or read book.
Step 4 – Your name will be called. Go back to the re-entry counter and have your photo taken (this may be a new requirement as I haven’t seen it mentioned before – maybe the photo guy was busy before and it is normally included in Step 3 – who knows). Go and sit down. Sleep or read book.
Step 5 – Your name will eventually be called again. Go to information counter and collect your passport and receipt. Head to nearest bar to recover.
Thanks for reading.
I received an email today advising me that the Chiang Mai immigration office has moved from its previous location close to the airport to Promenada Mall. A great idea as there must be somewhere in the mall you can get a strong drink after surviving/not surviving the Thai visa experience.
A useful ThaiVisa forum topic on the new office can be found HERE. ThaiVisa is a great resource but you will need to wade through neverending whining from expats who would be far better off being a pain back in their own country rather than cluttering up our lives and forums 🙂
Thanks for reading.
My thanks to: